Turtle remains near the mouth of the Starcke River have attracted crocs and dingoes to the area. Picture: Supplied
Turtle remains near the mouth of the Starcke River have attracted crocs and dingoes to the area. Picture: Supplied

‘It’s like a smorgasbord’: Alarm sounded on Cape croc danger

A CROC and dingo buffet of discarded sea turtle and dugong frames at a remote Far North Queensland camping spot has been declared a tragedy waiting to happen by a concerned fisherman.

The area of concern lies just south of Starcke River, about 120km north of Cooktown.

Since 1988, retired school principal Ken Stien has visited the area to camp and fish the rich mangroves creeks and rivers just north of Cape Flattery.

Discarded turtle entrails on a beach south of the Starcke River 120km north of Cooktown. Picture: Supplied
Discarded turtle entrails on a beach south of the Starcke River 120km north of Cooktown. Picture: Supplied

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He alleges traditional hunters from nearby Hope Vale butcher dugongs and turtles on the beach and discard unwanted animal parts for crocs and dingoes to feast on.

"It's like a smorgasbord, literally," he said.

"This happens all the time but it seems to be happening more often, and the crocs seem to be attracted to the stuff on the beach.

"To (the hunters) it's their beach, but it actually isn't; as far as I know, it's part of Cook Shire."

The 74-year-old angler said he didn't have a problem with traditional owners taking game and their right to do so was not in question.

"(But) the potential is there for disaster," he said. "There is a safety issue. I would not want to be down near the water."

A butchered dugong head near the mouth of the Starcke River, Cape York. Picture: Supplied
A butchered dugong head near the mouth of the Starcke River, Cape York. Picture: Supplied

Mr Stien said the opening up of Cape York through-road improvements meant many could be using camping facilities and popular boat ramps and not be aware of the potential danger.

"It is only a matter of time before a tragedy will happen - not 'if' but 'when'," he said.

Mr Stien said he had reached out to Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott to request that someone connected to Hope Vale elders could help clean up the beach, but he was yet to receive a response.

"Maybe they could get to the young fellas and ask them to not leave the stuff on the beach," Mr Stien said.

Cr Scott said he had begun talks with Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council to address what he agreed was a danger to campers.

"There is more suitable places (to butcher) further south but access is an issue by road," he said.

Hope Vale Mayor Jason Woibo was contacted for comment.

Originally published as 'It's like a smorgasbord': Alarm sounded on Cape croc danger

Discarded animal frames have been described as croc 'buffet' by a concerned fisherman. Picture: Supplied
Discarded animal frames have been described as croc 'buffet' by a concerned fisherman. Picture: Supplied

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